This story was written shortly after Catalonia banned bullfighting in that country.
For more than ten years I have been witnessing the execution of death sentences. I was a third year student at college, when I was recruited as Federal Execution Witness. I had to do several hard psychological tests, before I was accepted to this position. During my career I have witnessed the executions of murderers, rapists, and pedosexuals.
In these days death sentences are normally carried out by nitrogen asphyxiation in our legal system. By this method a gas mask is put on the face of the convict, trough the gas mask the convict will breathe pure nitrogen. A human being can’t distinguish normal breathable air from pure nitrogen, therefore one shouldn’t be aware of a lack of oxygen in his or her body. His breath will continue as normal, and with each breath less oxygen will remain in the body. Within a minute the convict will lose conscience and soon after he’ll be death, without any suffering. It is a clean execution method and it’s considered as the most civilized execution method. It was not shocking to see these executions, if you didn’t know that someone was sentenced to death, you should think the person involved was just brought under anesthesia.
But our penal code also provide for another way of execution. It’s reserved for people convicted for crimes as hunting and other blood sports as bull fighting. And this method is rarely used, since most animal killers sentenced to death, will be executed by nitrogen asphyxiation. Of course executions are carried out without public, but this rare method is public.
This method is actually derived from the Roman practice of bestiarii. The Romans were used to send criminals in arena to fight with wild beasts until they, the criminals, were death. The Romans armed these criminals.
In our variant we sent the criminal unarmed in the arena. So was Antonio R. too.
R. was convicted for killing several animals worldwide by hunting for pleasure, according to the accusation the total amount of animals killed was fifty thousand, mainly mammals, birds and reptiles.
Since R.’s crimes were so brute and the fact that R. had stated he didn’t find his actions were immoral, the prosecutor had demanded this extreme and rare punishment, and the judges agreed. R. knew that he had no chance at clemency, so he didn’t appeal his conviction. So he had to be executed within thirty days.
His execution was scheduled for today, therefore I had to go the arena today.
I was sitting next to the officer who had to lead to the execution. I had met him at previous executions.
“How are you?” I said “Fine, and you?” “Me too.” “Do you know how many spectators there will be in the arena?” “All sixty-five thousand available seats are sold. It’s the first public execution in fifty years. So it’s a big happening. Of course the execution is also broad casted on television, most people has got a day off from their work. In many bars people can watch the execution together. And there are at much more places all over the country, where great screens are placed.”
“I assume the convict is underway?” “Yes, he’ll be here in ten minutes.”
Next to my other side two girls were sitting. I estimate they were sixteen or seventeen. In the ring beneath us, marksmen were sitting. There were two teams of marksmen, one wore black Ku Klux Klan like robes. It was their task to shoot at the convict when necessary. The other team wore blue balaclavas and they were armed with tranquilizer guns.
Some minutes later a government official made an announcement while he was standing in the arena. “There are not much rules, the most important rule is that the convict isn’t allowed to leave this arena alive. If he tries to escape the black marksmen have to shoot at him and he will bleed to death. However if he does not try to escape and he is severely injured the president of the execution squad may order a finishing shot from the black marksmen. The blue marksmen have to protect the public against the animals, they have tranquilizer guns, so they will not kill them.”
After he had finished his speech, he left the arena. And some moments later R. was brought into the arena. The crowd in the arena started shouting at him, I couldn’t understand what they said, but it wasn’t nice. After a minute two African buffaloes entered the arena, the bulls got a standing ovation. Soon after they had arrived in the arena the buffaloes started to attack to convict. The public was cheering the bulls. R. was running through the arena and he was followed by the bulls. There was no escape for him. The girls next to me were applauding each time when one of the bovines attacked him. Through the enormous noise the public produced you couldn’t hear R. screaming. After a quarter he was injured so much he couldn’t run anymore. A few minutes later R. was death. Afterwards the buffaloes were removed from the arena, and his death was verified. When is death was announced the public gave a standing ovation. The young girl next to me was so excited that she gave me a kiss at my cheek. But the execution wasn’t over yet. Just a few seconds after the announcement of R.’s death three Komodo dragons entered the arena. The execution leader said to me “Those boys haven’t had food for more than a month. Dragons usually eat only once a month. They’re the most efficient meat eaters, they eat anything from their food.”
The Komodo dragons started to consume R.’s dead corpse. Ten minutes later no part was left. The three dragons were eating their part. There was again a standing ovation, this time for the dragons. After the dragons had finished their meal, there was nothing left from R. The dragons were brought back to the zoo.
After the execution I had to sign a form in order to confirm that Antonio R. was executed. The guy who had sat next me had to sign too. Afterwards we talked to each other. “He had got what he deserved,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone deserves this way to die. Personally I think we should execute criminals only by nitrogen asphyxiation. It’s the most civilized way of carrying out the death penalty,” I said. “No, he didn’t deserve a painless death. He was a barbaric thing,” the girl who had been sitting next to me said, “I’m glad he’s death now!” “I agree with you that R. deserved the death penalty,” I said, “but I’m in favor of nitrogen asphyxiation as the only execution method. It is very cruel way of killing someone. Did you see him screaming?” The girl nodded, “But he was a cruel thing himself. He killed fifty thousand innocent animals, just for his pleasure only. Now, he had felt the same as those poor animals he had killed. His screaming showed he was a coward!” “We’ve killed him for our pleasure. I’ve watched some twenty-five executions, I’ve never enjoyed them. But they died in some dignity. Without a sensation looking public. I have heard that all tickets for today’s execution were sold within twenty-four hours. And all those people who were watching the execution at TV?” “That’s what a thing like him deserved,” the girl said determined, “and we have the right to see such immoral thing dying!”
I asked her if she wanted to have a drink with me, she agreed with it. So I spend the rest of the day with her, while we discussed these execution, and a whole lot of other things.